Gateway a ‘shambolic response’ to job crisis

by Gazette Reporter
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A new government Gateway initiative has been described as a “shambolic response” to the ongoing issue of unemployment.
This is according to local election candidate for Castleknock TJ Clare (Ind), who said the initiative is “just another smokescreen” designed to massage the live register figures.
The Gateway scheme is one whereby unemployed people who are on the live register for more than two years are selected to work for 19.5 hours a week for local authorities, for which they will get an additional €20 on top of their welfare payments.
Clare said the proposal by the Government to pay the unemployed an extra €20 a week for 19.5 hours work with Fingal County Council is exploiting Dublin 15 residents who are out of work.
“Essentially it amounts to paying people €1 an hour,” he said.
Fingal County Council confirmed that there are currently four “general operative” posts being filled in the local authority under the Gateway scheme, with schemes currently under consideration that would allow this number to increase to a maximum of 215.
A spokesperson for the local authority said: “It is Government policy that work placements under this scheme are a valuable route for participants to gain or update experience of the workplace and the council are complying with Government policy in this regard.”
Election candidate Clare said he felt it was clear that mass emigration and exploitation are the main way Government plans to cut the live register.
“If they were really serious about job creation they would lift the recruitment embargo within the public sector and hire frontline staff to do the much needed work that is required.”
He said there are basic requests from local residents he meets for tree pruning, footpath repairs and housing maintenance, which are proving impossible for citizens to get done.
“Why not hire people to do this work on a proper basis with a living wage? The Labour Party used to believe in those values but now sadly their local councillors are nothing more than cheerleaders for slashing services and gesture politics.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Social Protection said: “Gateway allows participants to engage in worthwhile work, break the cycle of unemployment and avail of the wider opportunities offered, professional and social, by being in a work environment.”
Gateway is modelled on successful schemes such as Tus with the same level of pay and similar conditions.

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